Aramex completes testing of drone and bot delivery service in Dubai

The initiative is part of the company’s future delivery programme aimed at enhancing last-mile logistics

Aramex has tested drone and roadside bot deliveries in Dubai. Photo: Aramex
Powered by automated translation

Aramex, the Middle East's biggest courier company, announced the successful testing of its drone and roadside bot deliveries in Dubai as the company explores emerging delivery technologies and options to reduce its carbon footprint.

The initiative is part of the company’s future delivery programme that is aimed at boosting last-mile logistics using smart shipping solutions to enable quicker, sustainable and cost-effective deliveries.

The initial tests were conducted at the Rochester Institute of Technology in partnership with Barq EV, a commercial drone delivery service provider in the Emirates, and Kiwibot, a Colombia-based company that specialises in delivery robotics, Aramex said.

The tests were performed with the support of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Dubai Future Foundation and Dubai Smart City.

The initiative will help to generate more value for customers by providing faster, safer and greener ways of delivering packages, Alaa Saoudi, Aramex’s chief operating officer for express, said.

“It also enables Aramex to further contribute to UAE’s sustainability ambitions as we embark on our mission to transition our fleet to emission-free vehicles and achieve our climate pledge to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.”

The company said it plans to further scale up this service to reach more customers across the Middle East and Africa region, but it did not specify the markets or timeline.

In October last year, Aramex said it completed testing drone delivery in Oman in co-ordination with US-based UVL Robotics.

The drones used in Dubai are equipped with multidirectional sensors and a fleet management system enabling the delivery firm to have high accuracy across order placements, dispatch management, drone flight routing and deliveries, Aramex said.

“With this testing, we wanted to enable an integrated ecosystem of innovative products, which shall ultimately offer more convenience for our customers,” Angad Singh, Aramex’s global director for innovation, said.

“Therefore, in addition to the autonomous delivery vehicles, we have also rolled out mobile outlet trucks that allow us to operate drones and bots, as well as offer pickup and drop-off points at any location close to our customers,” Mr Singh said.

Logistics and cargo companies experienced a sharp growth in activity in 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, when safety measures drove more consumers to shop online.

However, the industry has been affected by an increase in costs caused by supply chain bottlenecks, rising inflation rates and higher oil prices, which have put pressure on margins.

Drone deliveries, seen as the next evolution in the logistics market, are being tipped to improve efficiency, with faster delivery times and a sustainable model designed to cope with user demand and comply with environmental goals.

The drone package delivery market is projected to reach about $5.6 billion by 2030 from $228 million last year, data from research company Markets and Markets shows.

Last year, e-commerce company Amazon started delivering some orders in California and Texas with drones. Walmart, the world's biggest retailer, already offers drone delivery.

Amazon drones to make deliveries in California and Texas

Amazon drones to make deliveries in California and Texas

Alphabet, the parent company of internet major Google, already has its Wing drone delivery service.

“We are committed to a zero-carbon future, seeking to enhance sustainability in the last-mile delivery and shipping industry,” Felipe Chavez, chief executive and co-founder of Kiwibot, said.

Founded in 1982, Aramex currently has business operations in more than 600 cities across over 60 countries and employs over 16,000 employees.

Updated: February 14, 2023, 4:19 PM